Discussion surrounding the resurrection of Jesus has traditionally hosted a long list of scholarly voices. Still, few names are more present to the contemporary conversation than Michael R. Licona (PhD, University of Pertoria). Licona is Associate Professor of Theology at Houston Baptist University. He is the author ofPaul Meets Muhammad: A Christian-Muslim Debate on the Resurrection(Baker, 2006) and coauthor with Gary Habermas of the award-winning bookThe Case for the Resurrection of Jesus(Kregel, 2004). Licona is also the author and/or contributor to a number of academic articles relating to various topics surrounding Jesus and the resurrection. Still, Liconas most lasting contribution to the discussion of the resurrection to date is his massive doctoral dissertation turned monograph case study, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach (IVP Academic, 2010).
Licona begins The Resurrection of Jesus with an excellent survey of the various theories and methods that relate to the task of a historiographical approach. This is an important starting point for the reader as it effectively builds the framework for the next 600+ pages. Subsequently, Licona investigates the objections to historical considerations of miracle-claims purported by individuals such as David Hume, Bart D. Ehrman, John P. Meier, and many more. Licona displays how each objection fails and why the hesitancy for such historical approach to the investigation of miracle-claims is unwarranted. Again, this further builds the framework of Liconas conclusion and the reader is certain to appreciate the care take in his evaluation. Following the introductory matters of the first few sections, Licona systematically evaluates and analyzes the historical sources and evidence before weighing the various critical approaches to such. This is the crux of Liconas effort and he presents his position in a fair and articulate fashion.
The Resurrection of Jesus is the most comprehensive historical investigation on the event of the resurrection that I have encountered to date. Licona leaves no corner of the conversation untouched, and the high points of the book are many. However, for the sake of space, I will name two. First, I think that many readers will find the evaluation of the historical sources in chapter three to be extremely helpful and carefully examined. Licona discusses both canonical and noncanonical sources, as well as Christian and non-Christian writings from the initial centuries of the Christian church. Each source is individually evaluated in regards to its importance in the historicity of the resurrection, and Licona does an excellent job approaching the sources objectively. Second, after evaluating the sources and beyond, Licona provides outstanding interaction with the various resurrection theories. This section is helpful in allowing the reader to digest and put the resurrected puzzle pieces together in the shape of Liconas historiographical approachalthough Licona is good about not telling you what to believe, but rather how to think.
The Resurrection of Jesus is a phenomenal work that deserves a permanent space on the bookshelf of anyone interested in wrestling with the implications of the resurrection for the Christian worldview. Licona is trustworthy in his examination of the evidence, and the fact that this is a polished presentation of his doctoral dissertation written at a secular university under skeptical eyes makes it even more intriguing. To be fair, this book isnt for the faint of heart. Its big, really big! Its detailed, really detailed! But, if you are looking for a comprehensive examination into the historicity of the most important event in the history of mankind, then The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach by Michael R. Licona will be worth twice its weight in gold.
I received a review copy of these books in exchange for and honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
more of a semi fundamentalist apologetics book (albeit a seemingly sophisticated one, I stress the word seemingly) rather than an educational tool to even handedly inform the reader of the relevant issues. this topic deserves better.
This book gives a wonderful defense of the resurrection found in Scripture, which is what we are exhorted to offer to the world (1 Peter 3:15), contrary to what the reviewer below claimed. This book provides excellent arguments based on criteria of historicity and criteria for weighing hypotheses. Highly recommended to God's people as well as unbelievers.
One comment on this book stated that we have to give an account for scripture. We DO? What passage? I have two masters and thats news to me. This book is a way of trying to appeal to us more educated types about something we need to simply accept by faith. If you do NOT believe in the resurrection, I assure you this volume won't make you beleive it. You, my friends have to take it on FAITH. Jesus had the intellect, the tools, and ability to prove his resurrection but he chose not to do so. This is so his church would have the most crucial component: FAITH. In all respect to Mr. Lincona, it's a good well thought out book. But there is so much material out there to read that I have to simply say this was a waste of money and time. I already know the resurrection has been proven. If Jesus is not risen, I assure you the Pharisees would have produced the corpse. Why can't people just accept it or reject the resurrection? I truly do believe many intellectuals should be concerned with seeking the hungry, the naked, and feeding and clothing them as opposed to making arguments that only appeal to PhD candidates and frankly serve little, if any other purpose.
It is a good book-but only if you have lots and lots of time to belabor these nuances of who wrote what and said this or that 2,000 years ago. Read Luke's Gospel. That tells me what I need to know with my many years of education and is sufficient for the churches needs to this day!